Saudia Operates the World’s First In-Flight Sustainability Lab, Powered By SimpliFlying  

Airline takes customer collaboration to new heights by involving guests in the future of sustainable flying.

13 May 2022

Madrid, SPAIN: SAUDIA, the national flag carrier of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has created the world’s first in-flight sustainability lab, which involved guests on a Jeddah to Madrid flight submitting ideas on how air travel could become greener.

The sustainability lab was staged on May 12th on SV 227, onboard a SAUDIA 787-9 Dreamliner, which was also the world’s longest carbon net-positive flight. The lab was run in partnership with SimpliFlying, global leaders in helping airlines build brand trust.

Passengers onboard flight SV 227 were invited to submit ideas on greener air travel, covering the flight itself, time spent at the airport and arriving at the destination.

After the meal service, each passenger was given three post-it notes (printed on recycled paper), where they wrote down their suggestions, before handing the notes back to the cabin crew. The notes were then displayed on the bulkhead for all passengers to interact with. 

The in-flight lab was mirrored by a similar ‘ideas initiative’ that took place at SAUDIA’s headquarters in Jeddah, involving the airline’s employees.

In total 150 unique ideas were submitted by guests onboard flight SV 227 and SAUDIA team members.

According to SAUDIA CEO Capt. Ibrahim Koshy, “Our Sustainability In The Air Lab saw us asking the experts for their opinions and ideas, the experts being our passengers and the SAUDIA team.  By being on our flights, they have a unique view of our operations.  We wanted to tap into their collective wisdom to look at how air travel can be made more sustainable.

“The result and the quality of the ideas we received exceeded our expectations, and we are currently evaluating them to see how they may be implemented.”

It was a novel concept led by SimpliFlying. “It is the first time an airline is partnering with its customers to make flying greener. An in-flight Lab elevates the conversation and helps re-build trust in trave has passengers have a say in creating a greener future for aviationl”, said Shashank Nigam, the CEO of SimpliFlying and the host of the Sustainability In The Air podcast.


The initiatives form part of SAUDIA’s entry into the Sustainable Flight Challenge, a contest run by SkyTeam, one of the world’s top three airline alliances.

Inspired by the 1934 MacRobertson air race from London to Melbourne, the Challenge has involved each SkyTeam airline looking at ways to operate the most sustainable flight possible. In this program, airlines will friendly-compete together to show which airline can operate the most environmentally friendly flight and achieve the most sustainable development. Participating airlines will be judged across 14 categories by an international and diverse panel of judges, and the winners recognized at an award ceremony in June. The main goal of this challenge is to develop and share a multitude of solutions and insights that can be adopted across the industry

SAUDIA also offset the carbon emissions for the flight, including radiative forcing impacts, by a factor of two.  With a flight time of over six hours, this made flight SV 227, the longest carbon net positive flight in the world.

The offsetting was handled by New Zealand enviro tech company Carbon Click, which utilized a Gold Standard approved and CORSIA certified hydroelectric carbon offsetting scheme in India.  Carbon Click will in future be giving all SAUDIA passengers the opportunity to offset their flights, via a dedicated landing page.

“The Kingdom’s Vision 2030 will see 100 million visits to Saudi Arabia by the end of the decade”, added  Capt. Koshy. “A cornerstone of that vision is for the Kingdom to be a leader in sustainable and even regenerative tourism.

“As Saudi Arabia’s national flag carrier we have a key part to play in making that happen.  As a result, these two initiatives are just the start of an ambitious sustainability programme that we will be implementing.”

SAUDIA’s participation in SkyTeam’s Sustainable Flight Challenge is part of a broader commitment by the airline to continually improve its environmental performance. This is an integral part of its business strategy and commitment to becoming an industry leader in sustainability. The flight comes on the heels of the Future Aviation Forum in Riyadh, where sustainability was a key theme and SAUDIA was the strategic partner and official carrier.


Notes to editors:

About The Sustainable Flight Challenge

The Sustainable Flight Challenge (TSFC) exists to challenge the aviation industry by stimulating and accelerating innovation towards a sustainable future. TSFC is presented by SkyTeam, a leading airline alliance with member carriers around the world. It centers around a challenge scheduled between 1-14 May 2022 in which 16 participating airlines will implement their most sustainable solutions and compete for awards in 14 categories. This challenge is another step in the aviation industry’s path towards a more sustainable future.



Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA) is the national flag carrier of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Established in 1945, the company is one of the Middle East’s largest airlines.

In recent years the airline has invested significantly in its fleet of narrow and widebody aircraft and operates one of the youngest fleets in the skies, with an average aircraft age of 5 years.  

The airline operates a route network which includes more than 100 destinations across four continents, including all domestic airports in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

SAUDIA is a member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO) as well as a member airline in the SkyTeam alliance since 2012. 

Saudi Arabia’s national flag carrier was named the Middle East’s Fastest Growing Airline in 2022 by Brand Finance® and World’s Most Improved Airline in 2021 by Skytrax. SAUDIA also received the prestigious accolade in 2017. 

The carrier is ranked as a Global Five-Star Major Airline by the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) and has been awarded the Diamond status by APEX Health Safety powered by SimpliFlying, in recognition of the airline’s extensive safety measures in response to the pandemic.


About SimpliFlying

SimpliFlying is the world’s leading aviation marketing consulting firm. Since 2009, they have helped an enviable list of aviation brands think differently and lead change in the industry. Headquartered in Singapore, SimpliFlying has presence in Canada, Spain and India.


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